Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland


We owe our seniors respect, gratitude and thanks for their contributions to society.  They deserve to enjoy their time with family and friends, rather than worrying about retirement security and healthcare costs.  Throughout my congressional career, I have championed the need for resources and services so that seniors can live independently, in their communities, for as long as possible.  

The historic health care reform law brings peace of mind to seniors by extending the life of Medicare for an additional 12 years.  The law also eliminates all co-payments for Medicare preventive services and provides seniors with free annual wellness checkups with no co-pays or deductibles, two provisions I fought to have included in the law.  Additionally, seniors who fall in the Medicare Part D prescription drug gap or “donut hole,” will receive a growing discount on all brand-name medications until the gap is completely eliminated in 2020.     

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will make sure that our seniors can depend on strong, solvent Social Security and Medicare programs, as well as find confidence in the IRAs and 401k plans.  I also look forward to reauthorizing the Older Americans Act, which expresses our nation’s commitment to protecting our seniors.   

Key Facts

  • Under the health care reform law, the 54,723 seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D “donut hole” or coverage gap are eligible for a 50 percent discount for brand-name drugs. The hole should close entirely by 2020.   
  • Seniors can expect to save almost $200 per year in premiums and over $200 per year in co-insurance compared to what they would have paid without the health care reform law.
  • The health care reform law provides the 701,000 Maryland seniors on Medicare with free preventive care services like colorectal cancer screening and mammograms.  It also provides a free annual physical.
  • $100 million in Recovery Act funding is being used to provide more home-delivered meals to seniors in Maryland.
  • Thanks to reductions in waste, fraud, and abuse, the health care reform law will extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years and provide cost savings to those on Medicare.


How does the 2012 COLA increase benefit me?

             A modest COLA increase is just one tool to help ease seniors' financial burdens and deal with the real rising costs they face.  This year, seniors in Maryland and throught the nation will enjoy  a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits.  The first increase since 2009, average benefits are expected to rise by approximately $516 per year.  That's more money for seniors can use to pay their bills, buy their food and get their prescription drugs. 
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